Depositing Policy Limits Does Not End the Duty to Defend

An Oregon federal court revisited a common coverage question that comes up from time to time: When indemnity for a loss is reasonably clear, can an insurer limit its defense expense exposure by simply depositing the policy limits with the court? The answer, according to this court, and most other courts around the country, is no.[1] The liability policy in U.S. Fire Ins. V. Mother Earth School contained the commonly-found insuring agreement language which provides, in relevant part, that an
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Insurers Be Ready: New Jersey’s Two-Year Window Reviving Time-Barred Sex Abuse Suits is Open

On December 1, 2019, the two-year look-back period created by New Jersey Senate Measure S477 went into effect, reviving claims of sexual abuse that would otherwise be barred under the statute of limitations. In March 2019, S477 passed in the New Jersey State Senate by a vote of 32 to 1, followed by passage in the New Jersey State Assembly by a vote of 71-0, with five abstentions. The bill was signed into law by New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy
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Venue Matters: Evaluating the Applicable Standard for Bad Faith Claims in New York

The insurance market has a strong interest in minimizing extra-contractual claims against it. These issues are often decided summarily at the pre-answer motion to dismiss stage or after discovery on summary judgment. Notably, however, since 2018, New York courts have articulated varying standards in evaluating a policyholder’s claim for breach of the implied covenant of good faith seeking consequential damages against its insurer in the context of these motions. Insurers have traditionally defended themselves against these extra-contractual claims by advancing
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Part 4: Privacy Policy Requirements Under the CCPA

This is our fourth blog post in a multi-part series addressing what insurers need to know about the California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA). This post focuses on a business’ obligations when it comes to their privacy policy, such as including and disclosing certain information regarding consumers’ rights. While this post does not require any background on the CCPA, if you would like the benefit of our preliminary discussions before diving into this post we invite you to start with Part
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Florida Court Requires Plaintiff to Plead More Facts About a Cause of Loss

The U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Florida dismissed a property insurance case after holding that ambiguous, non-specific pleading of a cause of loss is not enough. Causation is often a focus in property insurance cases. The exact cause of a particular loss will determine if the loss is covered or excluded under the insurance policy—meaning whether a plaintiff-insured will recover from their insurer. However, in state and federal courts, plaintiffs often get by with pleading merely that
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Illinois: Latest State to Declare Malicious Prosecution Claims Only Trigger Coverage in Effect During Arrest

In this era of sophisticated DNA testing, exonerations of incarcerated individuals have become increasingly commonplace. The ensuing malicious prosecution lawsuits have justifiably resulted in high verdicts and settlements. The key issue for many municipalities is whether coverage is triggered for these malicious prosecution claims, and under which policies of insurance. On November 21, 2019, the Supreme Court of Illinois, in Sanders v. Illinois Union Insurance Company, 2019 IL 124565, definitively determined that claims of malicious prosecution trigger coverage only under
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Florida Bridge Collapse Resolution Offers Workaround for Multiple Claimant Scenarios

A recent bankruptcy plan filed by Munilla Construction Management (MCM)–the general contractor for the failed pedestrian bridge at Florida International University (FIU)–paves the way for judicially recognized interpleader-type scenarios allowing insurers to resolve multiple-claimant incidents where there may be insufficient policy limits. On November 15, 2018, the Southern District of Florida Bankruptcy Court agreed to expedite a process that would allow victims of the pedestrian bridge collapse to start receiving compensation payouts following the creation of a victim’s fund. By
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The Pollution Exclusion Can Bar Coverage for Alleged Carbon Monoxide Poisoning Claims

In Foremost Ins. Co. v. Rodriguez, a Pennsylvania federal district denied a motion to dismiss a declaratory judgment lawsuit filed by a liability insurer that sought to disclaim coverage for an underlying lawsuit alleging carbon monoxide exposure.[1]  In the underlying state court lawsuit, tenants sued their landlords, alleging that the landlords refused to repair a heating system, which resulted, ultimately, in carbon monoxide poisoning. After the tenants’ hospitalization, the local gas company deemed the heater on the property unsafe, and
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Consent Judgments are not Excess Judgments: The Eleventh Circuit Emphasizes the Excess Judgment Rule in Context of Bad Faith

As a general rule, Florida law imposes a duty of good faith on insurers to defend claims against insureds and to settle those claims where a reasonably prudent person, faced with the prospect of paying the total recovery, would do so. An insured may, rightly or wrongly, claim an insurer’s conduct in handling a claim falls short of that standard of care. But a claim for bad faith will not accrue until the alleged claims handling results in liability that
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New York Courts Continue to Differ on Interpretation of Primary and Noncontributory Clauses

Most insurance professionals encounter additional insured coverage issues on a daily basis, and priority of coverage is sometimes part of an additional insured analysis. Policies issued by insurance carriers contain primary and noncontributory language on an increasing basis, and that language is sometimes located within a separate endorsement or may be part of the additional insured endorsement. Generally speaking, a primary and noncontributory provision modifies the policy’s other insurance provision to specify that coverage provided under the policy to an
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